U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad and General George Casey have issued a joint statement regarding the assumption by another Iraqi Division of control of its area of operations:
Today, in another sign of progress toward a stable and secure Iraq, the Fourth Iraqi Division Headquarters officially assumed the lead in its area of responsibility from the 101st Airborne Division. This achievement represents the. . .halfway mark of our joint goal of putting all Iraqi Security Forces in the lead in coordinating, planning and conducting security operations in Iraq. We congratulate the Iraqi people and the Government of Iraq on this important milestone.
Five of the Iraqi Army’s ten division headquarters, 25 brigade headquarters, and 85 battalions in the Iraqi Army now have the lead for security responsibilities in their areas. Additionally, to date 48 of 110 Coalition Forward Operating Bases have been transferred to Iraqi control. These turnovers from Coalition forces to Iraqi forces reflect the increased operational capacity of the Iraqi security forces. . . .
The progress made by Iraqi forces has enabled the Coalition to hand over responsibility for al-Muthanna province in southern Iraq to the provincial Iraqi government. This was the first of Iraq’s 18 provinces to attain that status, but further transfers are expected to follow in the near future. The number of trained Iraqi security personnel is now approximately 275,000.
JOHN adds: Progress is being made in reconstruction, too, although it’s hard to hear much about it. At Real Clear Politics, Jed Babbin quotes in full, and comments on, a long letter by Maj. Gen. Bill McCoy, who is in charge of all reconstruction efforts in Iraq, to the Washington Post. McCoy wrote to protest the Post’s coverage of reconstruction efforts. In particular, he objected to an article written by Andy Mosher, who spent three days with McCoy but then, McCoy says, reported incompletely and inaccurately on what he saw. It’s a long letter, and the General cites chapter and verse. A very brief excerpt:
He never told folks back home about the thousands of children that are now in 800 new or rebuilt schools, or about oil production now being back to pre-war levels and getting better everyday, or raw sewage being taken out of the streets and put back in the pipes where it belongs, or about the thousands of miles of new roads, or post offices, police stations or courthouses or… well, he just left a great deal out now, didn’t he?
Perhaps it’s because some in the press don’t want the American people to know the truth and prefer instead to only report the negative aspects of the news because “it sells papers.”
I don’t think that’s the reason. Gen. McCoy continues:
America, don’t give up. You are doing much better over here than all too many of your press will tell you.